Why CBS’ “Star Trek” Won’t Hit Until 2017

Many are keenly awaiting the return of “Star Trek”. Not so much the Justin Lin-directed new film “Star Trek Beyond” in July, but rather its return to the place it has always truly been home – television.

Word came in November that Bryan Fuller and Michael Green, the creators and showrunners of two of the best network shows in the past decade – “Hannibal” and “Kings” – were set to executive produce a new “Star Trek” series for CBS’ All Access streaming service.

One surprise though was the premiere date – January 2017. That was a long way off from the announcement, and left many wondering why the series wouldn’t be ready for a late 2016 bow. Some put the blame on Fuller’s commitments to HBO’s fantasy series “American Gods,” but this week it was CBS Corporation president Les Moonves who revealed the truth.

A decade ago, franchise co-owners CBS and Paramount parted ways and came up with an arrangement regarding Trek – the network kept the TV rights, the studio kept the movie rights. In a time when shared universes are the big thing, this division meant such a possibility would be highly unlikely at best.

Now, as part of a conversation for the Deutsche Bank Media, Internet & Telecom Conference last week (via Trek Core), Moonves spoke about the rights-sharing agreement and revealed that due to contractual agreement, there has to be breathing room between the film and the TV series – “Our deal with them is that we had to wait six months after their film is launched so there wouldn’t be a confusion in the marketplace.”

“Star Trek Beyond” is currently slated to open July 22nd, which means a late January premiere is the earliest we’ll see the new series. Casting and other details about the new series have yet to be released, but it is expected to take place in a time and/or place very different to the films which would allow the producers to get around thorny continuity issues.

Alex Kurtzman, who produced the most recent two “Star Trek” films, is also onboard the series.